So, what about the “Great Parade”?

Gosh, I guess some people must think we are dangerous “commies“! There we were, in the middle of that military, dictatorial communist regime! Worse, waving and excited!
Not that I care, ignorance for many is a bliss. Some people are so damned paranoid and fail to grasp what is going on here.
Of course I also fume (openly) about certain things here, like the airtight shutdown of the Internet (OK, not so airtight if you know how and willing to pay for it). There is also enough paranoia here.
For sure the Parade served its purpose but according to the Chinese textbook. It was first of all for domestic consumption – make all Chinese feel proud (and nationalistic), show unity, progress and prosperity (even if…). Must say, they succeeded. The vast majority of Chinese people felt great – and proud to participate.
The floats are now on display on Tiananmen Square. In 2 days 1.5 million people visited the square. All enthusiastic.
But China also sent a message to the world: “I do it on my terms, you like it or not”. China has now progressed that far that it wants to make clear it is s force to be reckoned with. If some complain it all looked a bit like a Nazi parade, Beijing really doesn’t give a damn.
In other words, a very open expression of self confidence. Sitting on 2 trillion USD of reserves of course helps. So does having an economy that is less hot than before but still growing. While the rest of the world wonders (me including) if the recovery is a U or rather a W.
OK, now I just hope it’s all finally over and done with. No more 2008 Olympics, no more 60 Anniversary. Let’s hope Beijing returns to normal again, it was nice but we can really miss the mess that goes along with it.
So, when will Facebook be back by the way? And Youtube?

Typical criticism of China

See here below Letter to the Editor, International Herald Tribune (IHT), 15 Sept 09.
I don’t disagree with the writer for most of the criticism and thus feel no need to comment. What’s wrong with it, is the typical one-sided analysis of China, lacking balance in assessing the positive and the negative. I can as well frame it and put on my wall because this is what western media mostly show or write.
When I look at other countries today around the world, I see much worse. The IHT is at least fair in giving a neutral view on the dramatic situations in Africa, Asia and … Europe and the USA. Those countries also cozy up with despotic and despicable countries for oil, regional power, business and else. In so many countries minorities are slaughtered every day. Look at discrimination and infighting in our “advanced” Europe.
Pollution in some countries (even sometimes in USA!) also reaches alarming levels that are either ignored or covered up. Europe and USA has so much more cars. On top of that, they are very happy to sell their cars (including the monstrous Hummer) to China. So, Chinese cannot have their car like in the western world? Are they all supposed to stick to their bikes? See here some figures of car ownership in the world:
Car ownership/1000 people: USA & Japan (>450); China (20); India (8) – 17,000 new private cars on the road in China per day. Just imagine China goes from 20 to 100 – that’s 5 times the today amount of cars but still way below USA and Japan.
It’s all a lot of cynical one-sided hypocrisy.
I can give Mr. Hewitt some nice destinations to spend his holidays. Lucky at least he is not a woman. He might end up stoned, raped, receive 60 lashes, maimed. But hey, there is oil over there, never mind.
I can only recommend to him: don’t go to Wal-Mart or whatever. It’s all made in China. (handy profits for the MNCs, all quoted on U.S. and EU stock markets.)
We here do criticize China too. We are not blind but we also look at the bright side.
One party of autocrats
Thomas Friedman (One-party democracy,” Views, Sept.10) writes “One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.” This statement is, to be kind, scandalous. China is a police state. China’s leaders have brutally repressed the populations of Tibet and East Turkestan for many decades. The Chinese leadership strongly supports regimes in Zimbabwe, Sudan, Myanmar and North Korea that have consistently ravaged their own people. China is itself corrupt. Nearly unabated air and water pollution devastates the health of the Chinese people.
Mr. Friedman’s argument for the “enlightened” nature of the Chinese leadership hinges on its embrace of renewable energy technology. It should be noted, however, that China continues to build scores of new coal-fired power plants annually, while the nation is in a headlong rush to put hundreds of thousands of new cars on its new roads. And, for my money, its rush to nuclear power does not in the least indicate the requisite thoughtfulness and attention to environmental protection that would allow its leadership to be called enlightened.
William F. Hewitt, New York

Yoga and fatwas

We need some real bad news from other countries to feel happy over here. We are actually spoiled and complain too much. Honestly, things are just great over here. No madmen going around with machine guns killing people, no suicide bombers blowing up 30 people at once, no kidnappings in broad daylight.
And we can have YOGA. Not like in Indonesia where medieval minds come up with all kinds of fatwas to make everybody feel miserable, especially women (anyway, those are inferior beings, you know). Even yoga is bad. In Bali they are not too happy about it. Seeing all those hated religious extremists, I feel like becoming a Party Member.
Just wait till week and there ain’t no better place to be than Beijing.
Let’s all be happy, have a beer in Sanlitun, a Brazilian BBQ, a night out in the disco with lots of booze, a nice massage, some belly dancing, whatever is on your mind. And go back home at 3 am without fearing for your life. And at home there is electricity, running water and the fridge is stocked with goodies.
Try that in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil, etc. etc. etc. etc.

Fed up with (some) U.S. politicians

Well, at least with those anti-American negativists. With the USA in very deep trouble, affecting the whole world economy, the new team in Washington is facing a tremendous challenge to repair the damage done by the previous team.
I am fed up with all the nonsense and the fact we would not be allowed to express our opinion.
All is well? See this:

“US economic contraction worst since ’82” (SCMP & Agencies)
The world’s biggest economy shrank 3.8% in the fourth quarter of last year – the most in almost three decades and confirmation that the US is in a recession. US President Barack Obama seized on the figures as a “continuing disaster” for American families and further proof that more action was warranted on his US$819 billion economic recovery plan.

“Meltdown prophet warns that much worse is still to come” (Bloomberg in Davos)
At the World Economic Forum two years ago, economist Nouriel Roubini warned that record profits and bonuses were obscuring a “hard landing” to come.
American International Group vice-chairman Jacob Frenkel countered: “I really disagree.”
No more. “Roubini was intellectually courageous, and he called the shots correctly,” said Mr Frenkel, whose AIG survives only on the basis of more than US$100 billion of government loans. “He gained credibility, and he deserves it.”
Even as he wins plaudits for his prescience, Mr Roubini says worse lies ahead. Banks face bigger credit losses than they realise, more financial firms will require state takeovers and the world economy will keep shrinking throughout this year. “The consensus is catching up with me, but it’s still behind,” Mr Roubini said. “I don’t know what some people are smoking.”
He remains pessimistic and sees banks writing down at least US$3.6 trillion, compared with the US$1.1 trillion disclosed so far.
Some neocons stick to fraudulent and cheap attacks. Some now say it’s all because of Soros. On what planet do those people live? Obviously they are just as bad as Red Guards in old China or the regime in North Korea. Only listen to the voice of the party, don’t think, don’t do your homework. The new president is a Muslim, a communist, whatever. He will destroy the U.S., blablabla. Went to check those blogs where people spit out all their attacks. Disheartening. Simply speaking, many people are not ready to have somebody at the helm who dares to THINK and consult others.
At least some people keep our faith up in the USA. About the U.S. stimulus plan, attacked by those negativists, I could not express it better than Paul Krugman:
“Bad Faith Economics”
See attached the pdf version if you can’t find it.
Yes China is full of problems and we have plenty of brainless people too, spitting out nonsense. But overall the central government has a pretty correct analytical view, though sometimes they are clumsy in handling details. Idem for their stimulus plan. Not perfect, not enough, but not that bad either.
I will keep away as from now from those neocon polemics unless China’s economy is concerned. I just needed to get it off the chest. Others things to do.

Corruption in China and fraud on Wall Street

The South China Morning Post just published an interesting overview of some of the major corruption cases in China and who in the higher government went down with it. One notorious offender is (former, obviously) secretary general of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu. Happens I knew him rather well, played tennis with him, lobbied for my projects and certainly got some help. I had a high opinion of him as he … never asked for bribes and seemed to do a good job. He didn’t have to beg, as he had apparently other huge “reserves” to tap into.
Corruption unfortunately remains here a very serious problem. But when you see the scale of rot in Wall Street, hey guys, China is not so bad, right?!
For Bernard Madoff to run a huge ponzi fraud scheme, losses being estimated at US$ 50 billion, all under the clever and watchful eye of the so-called Wall Street geniuses: whaw.
Free market without supervision? Just imagine how many people he ruined.
For Madoff, good he ain’t over here – no danger of dying of cancer. No need to wait that long, see what happened to the guy with his ant breeding.